THE S.F. ASIAN ART MUSEUM|
S C Bachus
Cognition -- that is, how we aquire a knowledge or understanding of the world around us -- is a process uniquely fundamental to our species. It is both objective and subjective in that our senses capture visual, aural and related empirical data from our environment. This data is then objectively and subjectively processed by our brains through, respectively, the filters of both reason and emotion. Thus, the picture in our minds of the world in which we live is conceptually and reflectively structured from the environment in which we live. If we are Westerners, as opposed to those of our species living in an Eastern or Asian environment, then our cognitive understanding of art is structured from the arguably more insular and normative parameters prescribed by our Western culture. For this reason, when I recently went to San Francisco's Asian Art Museum to photograph the Museum's wonderful art collection, I was at a absolute loss to decide at what I should point my camera's lens. The solution to this dilemma involved simply crossing that narrow bridge over the epistemic gulf that differentiates documentary photography from fine art photography. In concrete terms that meant letting the lens be drawn subjectively to the object of its focus. I had to let the object's inherent structural and aesthetic attributes pull the camera into its focal frame.
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